BPRD: Hollow Earth & Other Stories

The Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense is the quasi-governmental investigative group that Hellboy works for, but this book focuses on his supporting cast: Liz Sherman, a firestarter; Abe Sapien, a fish-man; Roger, a homunculus; and Kate Corrigan, the group’s leader. She’s trying to hold the team together in the wake of Hellboy’s departure and a general sense of mistrust. Liz has sought refuge in a remote monastery, seeking greater control of her power. When Abe receives a disturbing vision […]

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Waterwise

Waterwise by Joel Orff is an experience to lose yourself in. The protagonist is drawing his ex-girlfriend by the side of a lake. His sketch builds slowly, in companionship to his thoughts of her as he realizes that their relationship is truly over. Then an old friend, a girl he had a crush on when they were younger, breaks his reverie. Orff’s style is dense and primitive but strong in its skill. It’s brilliant at establishing mood on a wordless […]

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Long Hot Summer

Writer Eric Stephenson’s Long Hot Summer is a story about two friends during the summer a woman came between them. Readers may find themselves expecting an Oni Press label on this graphic novel, given the subject matter, format, art style, and the characters’ interests in music and scooters, but Stephenson is Image’s Executive Director, so this becomes another example of that publisher’s diversity. Ken is a mooch. He’s always bumming drinks, cigarettes, and rides from Steve. One day, he shows […]

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Coyote

If you weren’t reading comics in the 80s, you might not be familiar with Coyote. He’s one of the transitional characters that appeared during that period: a superhero that doesn’t appear to be such at first glance, originally published by a new company (Eclipse) instead of an old stalwart, and creator-owned by Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers. The origin story reprinted here originally appeared in Eclipse Monthly in seven parts, although it was written as one long story. That format […]

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Creeping Terror Tales

I originally read these two creepy stories by Sandy Jarrell as a minicomic, but both are now available to read online. The first, Don’t Play, the Game’s Not Safe, is about a bunch of kids trying to scare each other with trance-like games. This story does a fabulous job of realistically capturing kids playing around with the unknown, imagining grisly fates for each other. The art, pacing, expressions, and shading are all great, and the writer knows just when to […]

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Destined Love

Destined Love is a cool little meta-superhero comic set in the late 60s by Sandy Jarrell with Vance Sumner. It blends Astro City-like superhero daily life and real cultural history in the format of a nurse romance. It’s an ambitious project that could go wrong so many ways but doesn’t. Annie meets the superhero Bastion of Freedom while treating one of the people he’s recently saved, and they have dinner together. She’s curious about his relationship with one of his […]

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X-Factor Flashback: #70-89 (1991-1993)

Because I enjoyed the Peter David-written Madrox miniseries, it was recommended that I try his earlier run on X-Factor. He started on X-Factor #70 in September 1991 with the wrapup to some big X-Men crossover. It’s full of lots of chatter, too many guest stars, and showy character bits, as when Wolverine swallows a cigarette instead of extinguishing it. That’s the kind of thing that would normally interrupt a story, but since there’s not really one here, instead, they’re character-defining […]

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The New Teen Titans: Who Is Donna Troy?

Poor Donna Troy. She’s had so many names — Wonder Girl, Troia, Darkstar — costumes, and origins over the years. Somehow, she’s still managed to develop a dedicated fanbase, and The New Teen Titans: Who Is Donna Troy? should have been the retrospective she deserved, leading to more fans discovering her. Unfortunately, the publisher instead decided to use it to plug their next big crossover, as though there weren’t enough comics already tied into that mess. The uncredited introduction begins […]

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